Monday, September 21, 2020

Minister of Local Government to get powers to sack Councilors

Fireworks are expected at Kgatleng District Council this week when the council debates a proposed law that if passed would allow Minister of Local Government to sack elected councilors.
The Council has called an urgent full meeting to debate the implications of a proposed Bill that the Minister is preparing to table before parliament.

The Bill seeks to give the Minister more powers to sack under-performing councilors.
“If a councilor happens to be sick and the illness lasts more than six months, that councilor will be relieved of his or her duties and a by-election will be called,” said the Minister in an interview.

Speaking to The Telegraph this week, the Minister of Local Government, Lebonaamang Mokalake, said, “This Bill will be put forward before parliament, preferably sometime in November.”

He explained the Townships and District Acts will be merged under one act and will be administered from under his ministry.

At the moment the State President controls district councils while the minister is responsible for townships.

Mokalake said the current setup is not ideal.

He said if the Bill passes, the minister will be given powers to sack all under-performing councilors including elected ones.

Under the current law the minister can only sack those councilors that he has nominated.
Kgatleng Deputy Council chairperson, Boyce Tladi, said there will be a special council meeting on Thursday at which the proposed Bill will be discussed.

“I do not think that the Kgatleng council will agree with the proposed Bill. Even the members of the ruling party are expected to reject it,” said Tladi.

Although there are a number of other issues he does not agree with in the Bill, it is the power to sack elected councilors that he said he was most worried with.
He said there is room for abuse.

“Just how will the minister measure that an elected councilor is performing or underperforming.
“I foresee that the council will reject some of the items within the bill.”

Tladi however agreed with a proposal that seeks to grant councilors immunity as is the case with Members of Parliament.

The president of the Botswana Association of Local Authority (BALA), Mpho Moruakgomo, said there was no need for panic.

He said there was a need for the minister to be given more powers to sack incompetent councilors.
“In fact the minister has always had these powers. It’s only that no minister has ever fired a councilor,” said Moruakgomo.

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